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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Identifying and Using Team Members’ Strengths “Everest – Creating Greatness”

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

everestexpanded_1Team cohesion and effective leadership are every business’ dream. How do you cover both topics effectively in one training session?

“Everest- Creating Greatness” is one of CRM Learning’s best team leadership training programs. Featuring the work of Dr. Stephen Covey, the video package contains multiple video components and wraparound learning materials that enable facilitators to teach leaders how to inspire and empower others so that the team as a whole may create and sustain great results.

Leadership is a choice, not a position. This mentality is highlighted in the program’s core video, “Everest”, which documents the true story of blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer and the courageous team that guided him to the top of Mt. Everest. The video depicts how team members shared leadership and didn’t let egos get in the way. Each member believed the others had the competence and skill to succeed. Team members trusted one another despite the many potential perils involved with their climb. The team committed to helping Erik summit Mt. Everest ultimately succeeded because of great leadership and each team member’s commitment to preparation, teamwork, tenacity and goal achievement.

Other components of the Everest-Creating Greatness program introduce a “whole person paradigm” approach to leadership where leaders strive to increase team member engagement on a variety of levels. Trainees see how to recognize employees in their entirety (body, heart, mind and spirit), so that they can give employees opportunities to use their strengths.  This focus on true understanding builds a strong bond of trust between the leader and the employee.

CRM Learning offers numerous team building and leadership training videos. You can purchase training videos in various formats such as DVD or online streaming. Check out the training topics we offer and learn how we can help transform your business.

How to Avoid the Road to Abilene

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Has your group ever gone down the road to Abilene? This type of trip occurs when a group or team goes ahead with an idea or project due to the phenomenon of “false consensus”: everyone communicates their agreement with the idea, when in fact, some or all actually have objections or concerns, but fail to state them. This occurs in organizations because many people feel they’ll be ridiculed or censured if they voice objections. Trips to Abilene are a waste of time and resources and leave team members frustrated. Avoiding the road to Abilene in the first place is the best way to keep a fear of speaking up from causing your group to support a bad choice.

How to Avoid the Road to Abilene

  1. Encourage Disagreement: Create an environment in which group members are comfortable voicing differing opinions and are expected to stand up for their convictions. Facilitating discussion, keeping conflict healthy, and specifically asking for conflicting viewpoints allow groups to determine whether or not everyone is on board with a given idea.
  2. Avoid Depending on Unanimous Agreement: It takes an inordinately long time to truly reach a unanimous agreement. If people in a group know that the only way the project can move forward is if they pretend to agree with an idea, they are much less likely to present an opposing position.
  3. Create Avenues for Everyone to Voice their Opinions: No matter how you set up a discussion, not everyone is going to feel comfortable voicing their opinion. Setting up alternative avenues for discussion can help avoid that trip to Abilene. This might mean creating an anonymous suggestion box or hotline, or asking people for their opinion one on one. Everything you can do to diversify the way opinions are voiced reduces your chance of pouring resources into bad ideas.
  4. Be Careful with Language: The way a group leader constructs his or her comments can have a vast impact on whether or not members speak up. For example, saying “So we’re all in agreement?” encourages everyone in the group to say “yes.” Instead, consider asking “Does anyone have anything to add?” Being precise with language when wrapping up a discussion or responding to criticism can encourage, rather than put a damper on, opposing views.
  5. Ask “Are We On the Road to Abilene?”: If your group is familiar with the Abilene Paradox, asking straight-out whether it may be in play can help you recognize and get off of the wrong road.

Groups are most able to avoid taking the road to Abilene if they are first familiar with the concept. Video training is an effective way to introduce the Abilene Paradox and reinforce methods for avoiding it. Good training paired with thoughtful group management can dramatically cut back on ineffective group dynamics.

Recommended Training Resource: The Abilene Paradox is one of our best-selling videos. It’s an entertaining introduction to the concept of the Abilene Paradox that helps team members improve their ability to interact in groups and overcome their fear of speaking out.

Using Teamwork Videos to Foster Productivity and Improve Results

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Bringing your company’s mission and purpose to fruition requires more than the individual efforts of star employees. Teamwork is absolutely essential to any organization’s long-term success. However, issues with communication and interpersonal dynamics can create obstacles that keep groups from working well together. Teamwork videos help your employees overcome these obstacles and create highly functioning teams.

Using Team Building Videos to Foster Productivity and Improve Results

Through compelling examples and proven instructional models, teamwork videos can help  teams overcome obstacles while expanding their capacity for collaboration, innovation and execution. You can use videos to improve team performance in these crucial areas:

  • Communication: When team members are unable or unwilling to communicate effectively, it is nearly impossible for the team as a whole to function properly. Barriers to team communication can include personality conflicts, lack of trust, disrespect, and false consensus (where people are reluctant to express an opposing opinion). Many popular team building videos address these issues while providing information on how to keep group communication honest, respectful, positive and productive.
  • Achieving Goals: In the workplace, teams are generally created for a specific purpose. Empowering teams to set goals helps individual team members work beyond their own personal agendas while keeping everyone focused on the task at hand. When goals are unclear or group members aren’t sure of how the part they play contributes to the overall team objective, accountability suffers and the team becomes ineffective. Teach your teams how to set realistic goals, gain everyone’s commitment to those goals and track performance with videos that provide team training in these areas.
  • Solving Problems: Even the best of teams will occasionally hit an obstacle. How a group overcomes such obstacles can determine the degree to which they will be successful over time. Some of the best teamwork videos available are those that provide inspiration and instruction in this area. Highly recommended are videos that tell true stories of remarkable team accomplishments, such as the team that worked tirelessly to overcome setbacks and save 33 miners trapped underground in Chile…or the team that helped a blind mountain climber reach the summit of Mt. Everest.  
  • Leadership: Without great leadership, groups may be able to get some things done…but it is unlikely that they will really become a “team” in the truest sense of the word.  The right kind of leader helps unify the group and ensures that all voices are heard.  He or she keeps the team on course, nips conflict in the bud, and celebrates victories along the way. Using teamwork videos specifically designed for teaching people how to build and lead a high-performing team will set both the designated team leader and the team itself up for success.

Why Use Videos?

Using videos as a medium for teamwork training offers some notable benefits.

  • It is important for each member of a team to receive the same training information as every other person in the group. Video training provides this kind of uniform experience.
  • Teamwork videos engage employees through both sight and sound, helping them retain more information than through written or audio training alone.
  • Finally, many teamwork videos profile real-world teams comprised of ordinary people who’ve accomplished extraordinary things by working together. This provides a highly effective form of motivation.

Teamwork videos are essential training resources for any employer interested in creating teams that excel in productivity and leadership.

Recommended Training Resources: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, based on the best-selling book by Patrick Lencioni, helps teams overcome the most common barriers to peak performance.  And, Everest, a documentary account of the amazing team that enabled blind mountain climber Erik  Weihenmayer to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

These 5 Leadership Training Areas Help You Take Managers From Good to Great

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

When you promote an employee to manager or supervisor, you’re providing an opportunity for greater rewards and responsibility. To be successful, your new managers need to refine their leadership skills. CRM Learning offers videos that cover the leadership training topics your management team needs in order to be effective. Here are 5 specific training areas that can provide a positive impact in your workplace.

5 Leadership Training Areas that Help Take Managers From Good to Great

  1. Communication Skills: The best leaders are first-rate communicators. Through their words, they motivate and inspire others, build accountability, and establish relationships that bring out the best in people. Managers who strive to be great leaders must learn to speak in a clear and effective manner, ask the right questions, and know when and how to listen. Recommended Training Resource: The Respectful Supervisor: Motivating and Retaining Employees
  2. Influencing & Negotiation Skills: Because managers typically oversee projects as well as people, they will be more successful if they know how to influence and negotiate with the people around them. These skills ensure that the work gets done and goals are met….without compromising relationships. Recommended Training Resource: Leading the Way: Negotiating with Influence
  3. Leadership Accountability: Managers play a key role in creating and maintaining an accountable workplace. Teach them how to hold themselves and others accountable and you will reduce unproductive behavior while improving employee engagement and results. Recommended Training Resource: Accountability That Works!
  4. Mentoring & Coaching: Both formal and informal mentoring are essential for knowledge transfer and succession planning. Show your managers that coaching and mentoring are something they should both give and receive; then, be sure to support these efforts at the organizational level.  Widespread use of mentoring and coaching ensures that everyone receives ongoing encouragement while benefitting from the practical experience of others.Recommended Training Resource: Insights to Better Mentoring.
  5. Problem Solving & Decision Making: The ability to solve problems and make decisions is crucial for managers at all levels. Great leaders have the ability to step back and view problems from a broader perspective — often uncovering root causes instead of simply “putting out fires.” Educate your leaders on the things that derail group dynamics and provide them with collaboration tools that help them work with their teams to find effective solutions and make better decisions. Recommended Training Resources: 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask

Making an investment in leadership training allows you to develop leaders that will set your organization up for long-term success. By covering these five important training areas, you will improve the performance of your managers and the employees who report to them.

How to Bring More Enthusiasm and Positivity to Your Work Environment with FISH! Philosophy Video Training

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

The Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle is an unusual place. As you scan the seafood being sold, you might look up to find a fish flying above your head. FishGuysThe people who work in this market are enthusiastic, hamming it up for their customers and creating a great experience (including throwing fish to their colleagues!), all while getting the job done. This unique and effective approach to workplace positivity led to the FISH! Philosophy, a set of ideas that are applicable to nearly every work environment. Bring the enthusiasm and positivity you’ll find at Pike Place Fish Market to your own work environment with the FISH! training video.

What is the FISH! Philosophy?

The FISH! Philosophy centers around four basic tenants that lead to a great experience for both employees and customers:

  1. Be There: Employees shouldn’t just be at their job physically, they should be present emotionally, as well. They are there to do good work and engage with the people around them. Employees who are “in the moment” have more fun, are more productive, and provide a better customer experience.
  2. Choose Your Attitude: Employees choose whether to view their job positively or negatively. Choosing a positive attitude notably increases enthusiasm and productivity.
  3. Play: Work doesn’t have to be a drag. Having fun at work inspires creativity and helps in maintaining a positive attitude. When customers see employees having fun, they’ll feel happier and be more likely to return.
  4. Make Their Day: The people who work at Pike Place Fish Market go out of their way to brighten their customers’ day. By making a difference in others’ lives, the employees increase their own happiness, creating positivity for everyone involved.

FISH! Training Video

The FISH! Philosophy can lead to a huge change in the way your workplace functions. The FISH! training video is one of the most effective ways to introduce this style of thinking to employees. The FISH! video gives watchers a playful view of what the average customer experiences when visiting the Pike Place Fish Market, flying fish and all. Viewers receive a point-by-point explanation of what makes the FISH! Philosophy unique, and how they can use it to make their work environment more energetic, positive, and fun.

Recommended Training Resources
The FISH! video package has everything you need to inspire positivity and success in your workplace. This 18-minute video lays out the four tenants of this philosophy in an energetic and engaging way.

Conversation with a Purpose

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

rick-harry_smGuest Post by Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

I confess – I pilfered the title of this article from a man who was renowned as a wise and insightful pathfinder in the field of diversity, Dr. Roosevelt Thomas. A sample of that wisdom is seen in his statement, “Dialogue is conversation with a purpose.” In essence, he is saying that, in order to have real dialogue, we need to know what we want to accomplish during the conversation – we need to set a goal.

Let’s face it, goal setting is important in any aspect of life. If, for example, we dream of a trip to Paris, but neglect to set a goal of saving the amount of money required, the chances of us ever dining at the top of the Eiffel Tower are pretty slim. That’s because we will spend small amounts on other things along the way and get off track.

The same principle applies to conversation. If we don’t know what we want to accomplish, we won’t make the word and attitude choices that will get us to that goal. It is especially likely that we will get off track if we have a strong emotion associated with the interaction. Here are a couple of examples of what I’m talking about along with the kinds of productive goals you might set for each incident.

Example 1: You have been offended by what someone has said or done.
Possible Goals:
A. To embarrass the person and make him or her feel guilty
B. To educate the person about your point of view

As tempting as option “A” might be (let’s be honest, “guilt-tripping” is sometimes tinged with a perverse personal satisfaction), the most productive answer is “B.” Guilt is, after all, rarely a good motivator of change. Your act of trying to make the other person feel guilty will accomplish little more than making them defensive and, in turn, become utterly unable to listen to what you have to say.

Example 2: You have made a clumsy or ignorant remark that you think might have offended someone around you.
Possible Goals:
A. To show respect for your colleagues by calling attention to what you did and apologizing.
B. To minimize the importance and impact of what you said by ignoring it.

The goal here is “A.” The very fact that you are willing to take responsibility for your error shows, not only that you want to communicate respect, but that you are prepared to model truly inclusive behavior.

To return to Dr. Thomas – “Dialogue is conversation with a purpose.” I think he would agree that, if we don’t know where we are going – whether it be in conversation or in life — we just might end up someplace we’d rather not be.

This article is excerpted from the video program, Gateways to Inclusion: Turning Tense Moments Into Productive Conversations, which features Sondra and a variety of vignettes depicting these concepts.

Sondra Thiederman can be contacted for webinars or in-person presentations. For additional information, go to http://thiederman.com

© copyright 2013 Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

 

 

 

Beware of These Common Cognitive Biases

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

If critical thinking was easy, everyone would do it.

Every day we are faced with cognitive challenges to effective thinking. From emotions to unchecked assumptions and ambiguous data, we constantly make decisions without applying the rigors of critical thinking. Cognitive biases are frequent barriers to rational thought and effective decision making, but we are rarely conscious of our own biases.

Here’s a great graphic from Business Insider (see just below) that shows 20 of the most popular cognitive biases in decision making. (more…)

10 Guidelines for Ethical Leadership

Monday, June 8th, 2015

If you have the responsibility of leading and influencing others, it’s important that you remain aware of the impact you have on them in the area of integrity and ethics. Employees who see ethical behavior modeled by their manager or supervisor are more likely to act in kind. Additionally, employees who rate their leader as “ethical” typically have greater job satisfaction and higher levels of commitment.Ethics 4 Everyone video

Here are 10 guidelines for ethical leadership, along with corresponding action steps to help you put the guidelines into practice: (more…)

Why Transparency Matters

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Alcon_group1Transparency in business – it’s become quite the buzzword. And like all buzzwords, it’s easy to think of it as just another fad. It’s also easy for an organization to pay lip service to the idea without ever following through. But transparency is important for everyone: employees, leaders, customers, and — for publicly-held companies — stockholders.

Here’s how it impacts each group.

1. Employees
When employees are clear about the “why” behind their assigned projects and tasks, they’re much more prepared to do what needs to be done – which could include them making suggestions for improvements that would otherwise never have been imagined, simply because there wasn’t enough information available.
Educate every employee about the importance and relevance of what they’re asked to do, and you’ll have a more motivated, thoughtful, and productive workforce. Keep them in the dark, and you’re inviting mistakes, lackadaisical performance, and disengagement.
(more…)


 

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